(TIME.com) — If I’m thin then I’m healthy, right? Wrong. There are several misconceptions people have about weight, losing it and what’s healthy.
Here’s the low-down on some myths we’re better off busting:
Kids have to lose weight to shed obesity.
As children grow, they put on weight, but how much is normal, and how much is excessive and potentially a hazard to their health?
In the latest study, published in the journal Lancet, researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health developed a mathematical model to differentiate between healthy weight gain and the extra pounds that contribute to obesity. The model takes advantage of more accurate assessments of how many calories heavier children take in, as well as how quickly and efficiently they burn off those calories, and the ratio of fat to muscle in their bodies.
The resulting model shows some kids can outgrow their obesity around puberty even if they don’t lose weight. That’s because obesity is a measure of not just weight but the ratio of height to weight known as the body mass index or BMI, and as children grow, they transform fat into muscle, which can weigh as much, if not more than fat tissue. So kids with a high BMI that might suggest obesity may not actually be overweight.
Still, the researchers say that teaching children about portion control and balancing what they eat with physical activity to burn off excess calories are important lessons to learn early.
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